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Consumer Fraud: A 2008 Survey of AARP Colorado Members’ Experiences and Opinions

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The experiences and opinions of AARP members in Colorado in regard to consumer fraud and scams were examined in this state-wide survey. Analysis is based on an August-September 2008 mail survey of 890 AARP Colorado members. It was found that members were highly concerned about being misled or taken advantage of by companies selling products over the phone (78 percent) or the Internet (52 percent), and that they were most concerned about becoming a victim of identity theft.

Key findings include the following:

  • Half or more members were highly concerned about being misled by a number of company or business types: mortgage lenders, pharmaceutical companies, home repair contractors, and companies selling health insurance.
  • Two in 10 members were extremely or very concerned about becoming a victim of investment fraud; two-thirds reported a major concern or worry about losing money in the stock market, while about 3 in 10 cite a lack of consumer protections (30%), inside trading (29%), and incompetent brokers and advisors (26%).
  • Members have contacted one of the three national credit bureaus to order a credit report (53%), sign up for a fraud alert (14%), or purchase a credit watch or monitoring service (11%).
  • When asked where to go for help, nearly one in five members said they would turn to the police, State Attorney General, or Better Business Bureau with concerns about identity theft.
  • Interestingly, one in five members reported that they did not know where to turn for help with a concern or complaint about a financial investment, a sub-prime loan, or if the wrong person has access to their personal information.

This survey was commissioned by AARP Colorado to explore member experiences and opinions regarding consumer fraud. Mail surveys were sent to a stratified random sample of 2,000 members in August-September 2008 equally divided between those age 50-64, 65-74, and 75 and older; 890 completed surveys were returned by the survey end date. Further information about this report may be obtained by contacting Cassandra Burton of AARP Knowledge Management at 202-434-3547. (25 pages)

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